Despite James Harden announcing that he wanted to be traded and naming the Miami Heat as one of his preferred teams to join, the NBA’s leading scorer will not be taking his talents to South Beach. At least, not at the moment.
While it would be exciting to have such an elite player join the team, the Heat is already stacked with a roster of young talent and have a strong leader in Jimmy Butler. Save for Jae Crowder, the team who made a run to the 2019 Finals just over two months ago, is still pretty much intact.
Jalen Rose said on ESPN on Saturday, “If you’re one of those teams and you’re really trying to get James Harden, you have to pull the trigger,” or else players’ anxiety could get the best of them. “As long as the Harden trade speculation is hanging over [players’ heads]… I think it has the chance to wreck both of those locker rooms and force neither one of those teams to reach their goals.”
With Tyler Herro, rookie Precious Achiuwa, KZ Okpala, and Bam Adebayo all primed for a breakout season, Miami is going to be an exciting team to watch even without “The Beard” on its roster.
Butler agrees. When asked how much Harden’s trade talks has affected the team, “Zero,” he said. “We’re in here working. We don’t listen to the outside noise. You can’t help but to hear about it; somebody else is asking you about it. You can’t control any of that. We’re locked in on us. We control what we can control, and we leave all of that other stuff up to everybody else.”
Harden Is Currently Stuck in Houston & He’s Not Happy About It
A reporter asks James Harden is he feeling any better about his situation in Houston
— NBA Central (@TheNBACentral) December 21, 2020
On Sunday, it was reported there had been “significant movement” to get James Harden traded to the Brooklyn Nets, or the Miami Heat by the start of the season on Tuesday,” tweeted Sports Illustrated writer Farbod Esnaashari, a statement which echoed what 5 Reasons Sports Network reported the night before.
If Harden, 31, is traded on Tuesday, he will be able to start the 2020-2021 NBA season with his new team. According to ESPN’s Brian Windhorst, the Philadelphia 76ers could make a play to get Harden by putting Ben Simmons on the trade block, even though Daryl Morey, the team’s President of Basketball Operations, denied the Sixers star would be made available.
However, according to the Miami Herald’s Barry Jackson, Harden to Heat could still happen if the price is right. Jackson tweeted, “One high ranking Heat official had strong interest in a Harden deal, per source in frequent contact with Heat front office. If Rockets change their mind and accept less than what they’re seeking now, Heat very likely would re-engage. But Rockets standing firm.”
As of December 22, it appears no one really knows where “The Beard” is going to end up, but it seems highly likely he starts the season with the Rockets.
Miami Heat Has Not Announced Their Starting Lineup
The Heat is ready to start the upcoming season after signing the following 17 players:
Max Strus and Gabe Vincent with two-way contracts, Jimmy Butler, Goran Dragic, Tyler Herro, Udonis Haslem, Precious Achiuwa, Bam Adebayo, Avery Bradley, Maurice Harkless, Kendrick Nunn, Andre Iguodala, Meyers Leonard, KZ Okpala, Kelly Olynyk, Duncan Robinson and Chris Silva.
The team’s first regular-season game is scheduled for Wednesday, December 23 against the Orlando Magic. The Heat’s home opener at the American Airlines Arena is scheduled for Christmas Day. They will take on Zion Williamson and the New Orleans Pelicans, a team they lost to during their preseason matchup.